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Hi, I’m Craig. Shampoo has come a long way since 1882. Back then, one of the leading
shampoos Slidall’s Soap billed itself as “The Soap for All Uses”, and boy did it
stretch that claim. Not only was it marketed as a cleaner for hair and body, but the ads
also suggested using it to clean your toilet, laundry, kitchen counters, babies, dogs, harnesses,
carriages, and both natural and artificial teeth. And that’s just the first of many
FLAKY facts the scientists at Head & Shoulders are helping us clear up. I hope I don't MOUSSE
this up. This is going to be BUN, I mean, FUN. ‘Cause your hair is in a bun…
you know what I’m talking about.
Shampoos have become way gentler since the 1800s, and the formulas have gotten smarter
in the 125 years since then. But why do people even shampoo in the first place? One of the
reasons we need the lathery goop is that human scalps are basically waterproof. Glands underneath
our skin manufacture sebum, an oily substance that coats hair follicles. In the process,
sebum makes hair clump together and appear greasy. But because sebum is so good at waterproofing
the hair shafts, a phrase I never thought I’d say, a mere shower or bath won’t do
much in the way of actually cleansing the scalp.
To get past those waterproofed hair shafts, shampoos contain two-faced chemical compounds
called surfactants. Half of each surfactant wants to dissolve in water, and the other
half wants nothing to do with H2O. When hair meets water that has interacted with surfactants,
it creates a party where everyone’s invited, including sebum, dirt, grime, Gary from down
the hall. That’s what the lather is there for. Not only does it make your head feel
like a root beer float, it washes away clean, taking all the gunk and previously non-water-soluble
matter with it.
In 1908, New York’s biggest papers started publishing columns on “How to Shampoo the
Hair.” That’s because most people in the world didn’t know how to shampoo their hair.
So that was good of them, giving the people what they need. That’s what the media always
does. Always. The piece suggested washing your hair once every two weeks instead of
the more common practice of once every six weeks.
Of course, bathing itself, wasn’t that popular in history. Partially because everyone wanted
to act royal, and kings and queens HATED taking baths. Louis XIII liked to brag, “I take
after my father. I smell of armpits!” Henry VIII could literally be smelled from three
rooms away. And Queen Elizabeth I proudly declared that she took a bath, “once a month,
whether she needed to or not.” We’re guessing she needed to.
How many times a week should you be shampooing? According to experts, two or three times a
week is a good rule of thumb. You should also clean your thumb. According to me. Of course,
certain conditions demand more or less shampoo. If you’ve got malassezia globosa up there--
the scalp fungus that causes dandruff, you might need to scale it up to keep them flakes under control.
Ever wonder why there’s silicone in your dandruff shampoo? Polymers like silicone are
added to all sorts of shampoos to safely re-coat the hair cuticles after they’ve been cleaned.
The coating smoothes them down and adds a lubricating and protective sheath to keep
your hair feeling healthy.
Shampoos also get fancy with their polymers—some add volume or weight or increase the shine
and feel, while others protect from things like UV rays—but, in essence, they all work
like waterproofing sealant on a deck. Don’t host barbecues on your hair, okay? Yowza.
Ever wonder how astronauts wash their hair in space? NASA gives them a rinseless shampoo
that you simply apply and towel dry. But the no fuss shampoo wasn’t created in a NASA
lab. It was originally developed for hospital patients who couldn’t take showers.
That’s not the only shampoo technology invented for the sick. To reduce the burden on nurses
and careworkers, Japanese scientists developed a shampoo robot in 2011. The gadget scans
the scalp, determines how best to apply pressure to your head, and then works the suds through
with its eight magical fingers. That’s awesome!
It’s easy to overlook how much testing goes into many shampoos. According to one scientist,
the tools in her lab include a controlled humidity room to analyze whether a new formula
will make her hair frizz up, a fragrance center to experiment with how scents are released
with water, a special comb that measures the force it takes to detangle freshly shampoo-ed
wet locks, a friction apparatus that simulates what people feel when they play with the tips
of their hair, and a lathering center to determine just how many suds your perfectly calibrated
shampoo should have.
The shampoo you get in the US is probably a little different from the same stuff you
get in other countries. Shampoo makers adjust their formulas because water quality fluctuates
depending on where you live. Hard water, for example, has higher mineral and deposit content
that can overwhelm a surfactant, so other chemicals have to be added to the shampoo
to counteract the ions that make the surfactants ineffective.
Since the 1960s, scientists have been fascinated with shampoo’s fluid dynamics. It was those
crazy free-wheelin’ fluid dynamic ‘60’s. Like many fluids, shampoo coils up as you
pour it onto a surface and the liquid slowly moves downward. But then, every once in a
while, the shampoo stream will bounce up like a rubber ball. BOING! That uncanny behaviour
is called the Kayes Effect, and it took scientists about 40 years to explain the mechanism.
You want another strange and wonderful thing about shampoos? Because shampoos are good
at breaking down body oils, putting a dab on the inside of your shirt collar can help
clear away your greasy collar stains.
Recently, American scientists discovered that by using a tweaked shampoo recipe on old woolly
mammoth hair, they could remove the extraneous bacteria from the strands and get clean DNA
samples. The discovery has helped them to declare a new species of woolly mammoth, and
they’re eager to use the shampoo on other museum animals. I mean, I’ve been doing
that for years. But I got kicked out. I discovered some stuff. I’m not going to tell you about it though.
Finally, I return to the salon to tell you that baby shampoos are just shampoos that
use milder surfactants and don’t have special polymers or moisturizing agents, as a matter
of surfact. Babies’ glands create sebum at a much slower pace than adults’, so their
hair is usually less oily and greasy. Also they’re wittle babies who have no say in
what their parents put in their hair, so the joke’s on them. HA. You got no options, kid!
Thanks for watching Mental Floss on YouTube, made with the help of these flaky people.
And thanks again to Head & Shoulders for helping us make this episode possible. And to Sofia
Vergara, whose flake-less flowing hair was an inspiration for every single fact in this
episode. Except the one about Baby Shampoo. That was inspired by a dandruff-free baby.
A random one… you know which one you are.


16 Shampoo Facts (Incl. Why There's Silicone In Your Shampoo!) - mental_floss - List Show (302)

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Wendy 2015 年 4 月 13 日 に公開
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